Category Archives: seton hall

Technical Knockout

St John’s suffered an improbable 75-70 loss to the number 23 Seton Hall Pirates New Year’s Eve in New Jersey. It wasn’t improbable because they lost – even the most optimistic fan could only hoped to have stolen a road win – but because they lost not nearly as badly as they should have with their two best players in street clothes. (Although in Lovett’s case I’m not sure what street, he looked like he was dressed for Mardi Gras.) I certainly didn’t expect them to win – I wouldn’t have expected it even if they were at full strength. I didn’t even expect them to keep it close. And so I sat down (or let’s be honest, laid down) with minimal expectations: I was hoping it wasn’t too bad a rout and even when SJ went up by nine points halfway through the first half I was expecting disaster to strike at any moment. Which it did: Seton Hall ended the half on a 38-19 run to take a ten point lead into the locker room. (Into the locker room, good grief, what a hack.) Which considering what they were facing and how awful they’d looked during the second half versus Providence, no one could have expected them to make a game of it, which they ended up doing. Seton Hall extended their lead to 15 midway through the second when SJ went on a 15-2 run to bring it within three. At which point I might even have sat up briefly, I don’t remember. I do remember though that down three after a questionable no call on Ahmed under the basket Coach Mullin got an ill-timed technical – it was ill-timed whether he deserved it or not and I didn’t think he did, you don’t call a foul like that at that point in the game; Seton Hall graduate Jerry Carino who covers Seton Hall basketball for a Jersey paper said it was deserved, although he also said he “didn’t hear” what Mullin said, so if he didn’t hear what what said it’s difficult to understand how he could judge whether it was deserved, and that Myles Powell missed both FTs lends credence to my skepticism, because unlike beat reporters covering their alma maters the ball doesn’t lie – which interrupted whatever momentum St John’s comeback had generated. A missed free throw here, a missed three there and St John’s drops to oh and two in the conference with a likely loss to Creighton looming. Let’s hope that the back court returns soon, because otherwise it’s going to be a long winter … By the numbers the game was more or less even. St John’s shot 46 percent from the floor to SH’s 42; St John’s shot 50 percent from three to SH’s 44; ST John’s shot 64 percent from the FT line, which stinks, but SH shot 60 percent; SH was plus eight rebounds and plus three assists but turned the ball over 17 times. The big difference was free throws: despite missing four of every 10 they took SH ended up making three more FTs than SJ attempted, the total differential being seven, which is a five point game seems something of a big deal. About which a bit more more below … I’d be remiss if I didn’t start the new year out with a gratuitous slap at dopey Steve Lavin. Although in this case it’s not that gratuitous, as two players the keen judge of talent Lavin thought couldn’t help St John’s – Kadeem Carrington and Desi Rodrigez (an in game bio of Rodriguez noted that his favorite band was Green Day, which as Mrs Fun said no one’s favorite band should be Green Day, especially anyone called Desi from the Bronx) – combined for 47 points and 15 rebounds. Credit rat face Kevin Willard: he was in filthy gyms in the Bronx and Brooklyn recruiting those guys while Lavin and his double chins were scouring the French Riviera for Marco Bourgault and Amar Alibgowitz, two of the best shooters he’s seen since Jason Kapono. Coach Lavs: the gift that keeps on giving.

PLAYERS: Justin Simon had 15 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds and five steals while playing a full 40 minutes at the point. He did though miss the front end of a one and one with 40 seconds late and St John’s down three … Tariq Owens had 19 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks which is not the most remarkable thing he did last night. The most remarkable thing he did was play 39 minutes without fouling out. He also made a couple of threes, which if he starts hitting threes he’s going to be a very interesting player … Marvin Clark – who did foul out, for the fourth time this year – had 18 points … Ahmed had sixteen point and four rebounds, including three of four from three … Yakwe and Trimble played 40 minutes between them and had two points, four rebounds and four turnovers, which combined doesn’t even comprise one mediocre performance … Alibegowitz played five minutes, averaging a missed shot, a foul, no points, no rebounds and no assists every 2 minutes.

NOTES: New Year’s Eve brings our annual death pool round up. Gone this year were actors Johns Hurt and Heard; Sam Shepard, who banged Jessica Lange before plastic surgery turned her into a hideous gargoyle; Moores Mary Tyler and Roger; Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Adam West, Martin Landau, Frank Vincent, Harry Dean Stanton, Robert “Benson” Guillaume, John “Higgins” Hillerman, and Chuck Low, a major in the US army who went on to appear in a number of Martin Scorsese films, most notably as Morrie in Goodfellas; dead musicians included Walter Becker, Glen Campbell, Chuck Berry Tom Petty, Chris Cornell, Fats Domino, Greg Allman and being charitable because it’s the holiday season David Cassidy; comedians Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles, Charlie Murphy and Dick Gregory; the only other columnist in NY worth reading other than me, Jimmy Breslin; former heavy weight champion Jake LaMotta; and miscellaneous celebrities Della Reese, the Honorable Joseph Wapner, former CIA agent Chuck Barris, the sybarite Hugh Hefner, Monty Hall, Erin “Joanie” Moran; and sneaking in just under the wire Rose Marie, who like as not pushed someone over the finish line. Congratulations winners … I wrote last time about a particular type of fan – the sky is falling type – and this time I’m going to write about another. I’m not going to make this a habit – let’s face it if I spent all my time chronicling your collective shortcomings I’d end up typing with Ray McKegney’s gnarled hands – but this story has a moral, as opposed to my usual cheap mindless viciousness.

The ones I’m talking about here are fans who claim to have secret insight into the way the program is run. Understand I’m not talking about good-natured fellows like everyone’s favorite poster P___________ , who seems to be a well meaning fellow with legitimate access to the program who shares what he hears in a good-natured way and adds a for-what-it’s-worth at the end. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about fans who make vague allegations and allusions to rumors they claim to have heard about some bombshell that’s about to explode, secret info about this player or that situation, which player or situation they have the inside dope on but can’t really be too specific about because if they were they’d burn their deep-throat source, who at great risk to him (or her) self and career has given the dope an inside scoop, probably in code and using a series of drop boxes. Whereas in reality mostly these guys are just sad wankers with no sources and no information. I’d ask why people behave like this but I know the answer: they lack self esteem. Some have micro penises; some are Iona fans; some are Iona fans with micro penises. Just like the chicken littles I don’t begrudge them the way they go about their hobbies, just as I trust they don’t begrudge me the way I go about mine, one of which is pointing out other people’s shortcomings in an attempt to make myself look better by comparison. Which is what I’m doing here except that this story has as I said something of a moral. But first the story:

A poster this week in a well read St John’s fan forum posted as follows. He said in reference to Chris Mullin that

The reports on him that the refs file on him after each game are not pretty. Also, the fact in year 3 he does not even know their first names are not helping his situation.

Which is quite a remarkable assertion on a number of levels: first this poster claims he is conversant with official sounding “reports” that are filed by referees with presumably some referee-ing authority; that these reports are unflattering to Mullin; that the attitudes toward Mullin reflected in the reports affect the outcomes of games; and further that Mullin is penalized for not fraternizing with the referees and conversely that other coaches who do fraternize with the referees benefit therefrom. (Which if true might explain how Villanova played an entire game earlier this year without a single foul being called against them.)

Now what can we conclude from this. It could be that the guy is just a sad plonker with a micro penis, that there are no reports, or in the alternative that maybe there are reports but he hasn’t seen them: that is, that he just made the whole thing up. That’d be sad, but in this case that’s the best case. The worst case is that there are reports, that he’s privy to them – presumably such things are confidential – and that he’s correct: that there’s an on going conspiracy among Big East referees to rig the outcome of college basketball games against coaches they dislike personally. If that’s the case I’d hope this poster informs the league offices, and the NCAA and the FBI. Because these crooked referees aren’t harming just Chris Mullin: they’re harming the league and their employers and the NCAA, the student athletes whose games they’re adjudging, the fans who pay to watch the games and ultimately college athletics itself. Its one thing to have an incompetent like Tim Higgins make bad calls because he’s hung over, or to have an incompetent like Jim Burr make bad calls because he’s hung over and dumb as a rock. It’s quite another to engage in a systematic conspiracy to defraud a sizable number of innocents and in doing so to affect the outcome of a sporting event upon which people wager. Which is quite possibly a felony under federal law and if this guy knows about it and doesn’t report it, that’s a felony too, misprision of felony as defined by 18 USCS § 4, which carries a max penalty of three years in the federal penitentiary. Advice to that poster: don’t drop the soap.

But we’ll never know, Because when I asked this poster for details on his lurid assertions – what exactly these reports comprise, how he access to them and so on he merely said “referees talk” and then refused to address the situation further. Which is par for the sad plonker course.

But I bring that up not to mock this dumb slob but to note that in St John’s five point loss to Seton Hall the Hall took twice as many free throws as St John’s (23 to 11) and made twice as many FT’s as St John’s (14 to 7); that St John’s was called for three technical fouls – one on the bench for god knows what, one on Mullin for jawing at the refs – which not for nothing but I used to sit behind Louie in Alumni Hall as a young impressionable lad and for a number of years thought that St John’s back court comprised two guards, one named FUCKING and the other BULLSHIT – and one on Tariq Owens for stepping to a Seton Hall player who’d just shoved a SJ player in the chest.

Which FT disparity I’d find highly suspect on the best of nights. But then I’m a bit of a paranoid. I do leave you with this however: this is a shot comparison between Kadeem Carrington and Bashir Ahmed. Carrington took 13 shots, 10 of them threes, for which he was awarded eight free throws. Bashir Ahmed took 14 shots, 10 of them moving toward the basket in his usual bull in a china shop fashion. Which for his effort he was awarded two free throws.

Which you have to admit is passing strange.

 

 

PIE ROTS

As faithful readers know, I’m something of a connoisseur of schadenfreude. Which is to say that there are few things in the world that make me happier than when bad things happen to other people. Which is why Saint John’s 78-70 defeat of the Seton Hall Pirates at Madison Square Garden was so much sweeter than the usual run of the mill win. Because for Seton Hall, on Selection Sunday, Saint John’s is going to be a bad loss. And if Seton Hall doesn’t make the tournament – as I fervently hope they do not, because fuck Seton Hall – then today will be a major reason why. To put my glee in perspective, I had a fin on a $60 horse today in the seventh at Aqueduct, a Finger Lakes shipper called Hey Jabber Jaw – lone speed baby! – and the thrill of that cha-ching pales in comparison to the joy I feel at the thought of Kevin Willard’s rat guts roiling on the long bus ride back to Jersey … As games go, this was not a particularly compelling one. Things were close for about the first ten minutes, at which point SJU went on a 20-6 run to lead by 10 points at half time and things would have been much closer had SJU not missed half a dozen lay ups. Things did not get much closer after that: I can’t be arsed to check but I think the lead in the second half was never less than seven, and that’s taking into account a 9-2 SH run about midway through the half. What was compelling was how Saint John’s won: they didn’t win as usual by shooting the lights out from three – they were 3-11. They won by playing defense, by controlling the tempo, by absorbing a punch, in short by doing all the little things that good teams do routinely when they win. I noted a bit ago and will note again: despite their youth this team is starting to gel. You can see them getting better and you can feel them getting better; and you can see and feel Mullin becoming a head coach. To the extent that Saint John’s basketball is thrilling – which is easily as thrilling as a 14 thousand dollar claimer at Aqueduct in February – this is it. I don’t mean that it doesn’t get any better than this – because next year will be better than this – but at this point in time and at this point in the process, we are you and I a couple of glorious seconds short of ejaculation. It’s like Hannibal Smith used to say: I love it when a plan comes together …

 

Some points high and low from the box score: both teams shot about 40 percent from the floor; SH shot 40 percent from three, versus 25 percent for SJU; Seton Hall turned the ball over 19 times, versus 8 for SJU; Seton Hall shot 65 percent from the free throw line – nine misses in an eight point game, haha – as opposed to 19-21 for Saint John’s, those two misses by Lovett and Missini, who are usually money; it wasn’t evident to me watching the game but SH was plus 12 rebounding, didn’t matter, don’t care … Other than his decision to inexplicably take the air out of the ball late in the second half when he should have put his foot on Kevin Willard’s throat and torn his jugular out with his teeth, another well-coached game by Mullin. As goofy as he may have looked sitting on the scorer’s table last year at this time, that’s the opposite of how good he looks this year on the sidelines: in control of his team and himself. Speaking of schadenfreude, its a bit too soon to call all the Mullin haterz to the carpet, but that time is coming: in short order there will be a shit ton of crow for Mullin doubters to eat and I will personally shove each and every black fucking bird down each and every throat. Because seeing Mullin finding himself on the sidelines is marvelous … I’ve expended many words this year shitting on the officiating but today the officiating did not suck. I don’t mean that the officials could see or were not stupid or understood the rules of basketball. Heaven forfend, because they missed a shit ton of calls. But today they did not interfere with the game: they did not destroy its rhythm or integrity by calling too many fouls; they did not play favorites by penalizing one team at the expense of the other; in other words, other than that they were there, you could not tell they were there, which is how it should be. It did not even bother me that Angel Delgado was permitted to stand in the lane long enough to grow roots: I tortured Missus Fun by continually rewinding the game and counting how many three second violations ADG committed, which was half a dozen, with four of them comprising five seconds each time – with that sort of advantage no wonder he leads the conference in rebounding … SJU Is now sixth in the conference – not in something, actually sixth place in the conference, in Mullin’s second year. They have six wins, as many as Marquette and more than Seton Hall and Georgetown and Providence. They’ve won four out of their last seven. Other than two losing streaks where they lost nine of nine they’re 12 and 5. I find this wonderful and hilarious. If you don’t you should find another team to root for.

PLAYERS: Marcus Lovett once again did not start but my did he finish: 19 points, six assists, and five rebounds … Tariq Owens double doubled: ten points and 12 rebounds to go along with 4 blocks. I don’t recall an SJU player ever having a triple double but he’s a candidate. On one remarkable sequence he blocked a shot at one end and followed up a missed shot with a dunk on the other. If it doesn’t make ESPN’s top ten then something is amiss at ESPN … Ahmed pressed a bit but had 11 points and eight rebounds, disappointing fans who think he stinks. Had a marvelous no look pass on break that led to a Missini lay in … Ponds had 17, a bunch of it acrobatically in traffic. Made a spin move in traffic in the first half that should be in a museum … Yakwe had eight points and three assists, but also three blocks and drew three charges. To the extent hat Delgado was not a factor he was not a factor because of Yawke … Amar Aligegowish emerged from the primordial muck to have a not shitty game: he made a couple of lay ups – one on a spectacular no look from Lovett – and hit a big three that swished right as I was yelling at him for taking it … Missini made a couple of plays but was mostly ineffectual. In one sequence he missed a three, flubbed a rebound on the other end and allowed his man a three, which was about a nine point turn around .. Ellison committed three fouls in five minutes and was pulled after throwing one of his patented lazy half court passes that led to a SH fast break. Mullin said he injured his thumb, but I hope he didn’t play in the second half because he sucks, which he does … Darien Williams did not play because he has a walking boot on his shoulder and Fruedenbrgh didn’t play because he stinks.

NOTES: Last week I ragged on the CBS coverage to no end. Today it did not suck. In fact, other than he first appearance of Wally Scerbiaks’ terrifying eyebrows I quite enjoyed the it. Doug Gottlieb – who as a radio host makes those morons on Mike and Mike look like Bertrand Russel and Alfred North Whitehead – was eloquent and well informed. About the rest of them the less said the better … As I mentioned last week I received an email, the gist of which was that I’d softened my stance on Fedrerico Mussini in the face of his (the reader’s) and other’s criticism that I was prejudiced against Italians – can you imagine in this day and age, a jew broad, prejudiced against italians – noting that I had even taken to spelling Mussini correctly, as opposed to my preferred Missini. That of course is twaddle. In the first place I don’t hate Italians – I mean sure I hate some Italians, my family for instance, but not all of them, how can you hate a race nationality that turned out Sophia Loren and Claudia Cardinale for god sake – and in the second it should be evident by now that I don’t give a shit what you people think. But as pari-mutuel fans of the ALL button know the most important place is the third: in his last several games Missini- not today but in general – has played limited minutes adequately, which is about all you can expect from a short skinny less than talented dago. (Interestingly although dago is often employed as a slur against Italians its etymology suggests that it’s a variation on the Portuguese surname Diego.) It did get me to thinking though about how few Italians have made their mark in basketball. There are any number of great Italian baseball players, inter alia Steve Balboni, Rocco Baldelli, Kurt Bevacqua (of whom self hating Italian Tommy Lasorda said “he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a fucking boat”), Buddy Biancalana, John Boccabella, Jim Fregosi, Pete Incaviglia, Cookie Lavagetto, Lee Mazzilli, Tiger great Don Mossi, and Mike Pagliarulo. Just kidding, those guys stunk. But Sal Bando, Yogi Berra, Craig Biggio, Ralph Branca, Roy Campanella, Tony Conigliaro, Joe DiMaggio, Tony Lazzeri, Sal Maglie, Rico Petrocelli, Mike Piazza, and Phil Rizzuto, they didn’t stink. So it’s not that eye-ties are terrible athletes. And in fact some were great athletes: Willie Mosconi was Italian; so was Charles Atlas; so was Rocky Marciano; so was Brian Boitano. They’re a little thin in football, but Marc Bavaro, Daryl Lamonica, Mike Lucci, Dan Marino, Dan Pastorini, Tony Siragusa, and Adam Vinatieri are nothing to sneeze at. So it strikes me as a bit odd that there are so few great Italain basketball players, the best of which was arguably Diana Taurasi and if not him her then probably former NBA rookie of the year Ernie DiGregorio, who stil holds the single game NBA assist mark at 25. After him things drop off precipitously: you’ve got Saint John’s own mix breed Jayson Williams, Villanova alum Bill Melchionni – Melchionni played on two of the most talented basketball teams ever assembled: in 1967 he played with Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer, and Chet Walker on the 76ers and in 1974 he won an ABA championship with Julius Erving, Larry Kenon, John Williamson, and Billy Paultz – and beyond them the Vinny Del Nigros and John Gianellis of the world. I mean, the French are the worst nationality on the planet and they produced Bob Cousy and Tony Parker. Look at for example the list of the top Irish American basketball players and you can leave aside the Al and Frank McGuire and the brothers Mcyntyre and even Bobby Kelley and still have this starting six: John Stockton, black Irish Jason Kidd, Chris Mullin, Rick Barry, Kevin McHale, and Bill Walton, and after that you can bring former Saint Johhn’s coach Matt Doherty off the bench. That’s a pretty good basketball team and although they wouldn’t beat Magic, Michael, Julius, LeBron and Wilt, it’d be a pretty entertaining game, and maybe even competetive. Where Italians have made their basketball mark is as coaches: Geno Auriemma, John Calipari, P.J Carlesimo, Louie, Mike D’Antoni, Tom Izzo, Rollie Massimino, Thad Matta, Dick Motta, Rick Pitino and Jim Valvano were all wops. What does this all mean, other than that since basketball is a game Irish excel at evidently you can play it shit faced? I’m not sure, but I only have 2000 words to write, and that was a thousand and morals are extra.

Blimey

RECAP: Steve Lavin was such an atrocious coach that every once in a while you still catch a whiff of the stench of his failure. Sunday afternoon that smell took the form of three Seton Hall upperclassmen who Lavin couldn’t be bothered recruiting because he was too busy being played for a fool by Isaiahs Whitehead and Briscoe: Brooklyn’s Khadeen Carrington, Bennie Blanco Desi Rodriguez from the Bronx and Angelo Delgado – he’s not from anywhere, he has his own zip code – combined for 42 points, 24 rebounds and 12 assists in Seton Hall’s 86-73 defeat of Saint John’s in New Jersey. The final margin makes it seem like it might have been a game: for those of you who were lucky enough to have missed it, it wasn’t. Seton Hall went up early and stayed there and made Saint John’s look foolish in the process. To the extent that there was a bright side and there wasn’t much of one it’s that once Seton Hall punched their teeth in Saint John’s didn’t curl up in a ball and allow Seton Hall to kick them in the head and stomach until their legs got tired, which is what happened a couple of weeks ago versus Georgetown. Instead, Saint John’s got to its feet and threw a few feeble punches, which, okay they didn’t land, but at least they didn’t stay down. That’s progress. The fact is that they were just out talented and especially out muscled and there’s nothing to be done about that, at least not this year, when some nights the only lesson they’ll learn is how to take their beatings like men … Once again the graphic shows exactly what went on, saving me the trouble of describing it and you the trouble of reading about it

If you were to look only at the Saint John’s side of the box score things don’t seem too bad: 40 percent from the floor, 30 percent from three, 33 rebounds, 10 assists, only nine turnovers, that isn’t awful. But compared to Seton Hall’s numbers – 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from three, and 20 assists on 32 made baskets and 45 rebounds (+ 12) – they are. If like me you’re no great fan of the Pirates and their rat faced coach Kevin Willard you’ll be pleased to note that they shot 14 of 25 from the free throw line wherefrom they are now at 60 percent from the year, which poor shooting will hopefully bite them in the ass at some point, preferably in the Big East tournament. Colorman Len Elmore kept mentioning their tournament chances but he must have been reading last year’s game notes because this year their chances appear to be zero.

PLAYERS: Only two Saint John’s players bothered to show up, Marcus Lovett, who had an acrobatic 22 points and Bashir Ahmed, a bust who finished with 19 points and 7 rebounds, including a four-point play early. Get him out of there!! … Shamorie Ponds was 3 for 11 from the field and is 15 of 45 from the floor over his last four games. Knowledgeable Saint John’s fans who’ve scoured his Snaptagram account claim that his recent run of poor play has led him to consider transferring, which if these gossipy old biddies are to be believed makes him about the ninth player who’ll leave the program at season’s end. Personally I don’t follow any pubescent boys social media accounts (except for Harry Styles obviously, he’s dreamy) so I can’t confirm …. Those thuds you heard yesterday afternoon were the bodies of people hurling themselves off the Malik Ellison bandwagon , which they had jumped on after his 20 point performance against DePaul. On the bright side yesterday neither Rich Ackerman nor Len Elmore mentioned his parentage, which is the first time that’s happened in a year and a half … Together Saint John’s front line of Yawke, Owens, Williams and Alibegowtch had 14 points and 9 rebounds. Whereas SH’s front line of Angelo Delgado had 21 points and 20 rebounds …. Missini’s only points came on one of his heroic dagger threes late in the second half that pulled Saint John’s with 17. Unfortunately his teammates were unable to capitalize on the huge swing in momentum and the lead soon drifted back up to 18.

NOTES: I’d be remiss if I failed to mention this week’s big event: Spice Girl Geri Halliwell had her second child, a girl. Just kidding, it was a boy. No, just kidding again. Of course I’m talking about the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Although I wouldn’t describe myself as a Trump supporter – I’m more of a set the whole thing on fire and sit across the street drinking a six pack watching it burn supporter – I certainly understand the anyone other than who’s there now impulse that got him elected: having been bequeathed a republic we are now subjects of an corrupt oligarchy; once free citizens the minutia of our lives – from what kind of light bulbs we use to what sort of toilet we shit in – is controlled by a cadre of unelected clerks and bureaucrats whose seeming sole goal in life is to maintain their ravenous suckling at the public teat. In more civilized times these sort of people had their heads guillotined and mounted on stakes as a warning to other would-be tyrants, but these times are far from civilized. So I’ll take what I can get, especially if it includes a thumb jabbed deep in the eye of my alleged masters and betters. As fat slob Michael Moore said, this was the greatest fuck you in the history of fuck yous, and it was to aficionados of fuck yous as satisfying as Michael Moore finds his third breakfast.

Odds are that Trump is not the answer to the restoration of the republic – why should he succeed where Ben Franklin and Samuel Adams failed? And besides, the problem with political nihilism – besides that it postulates that there are no right questions, much less answers – is that nature abhors a vacuum, which means that every time you throw the bums out another crew of bums appears to take their place; history, his and ours, suggests that he will turn out to be just that. But so far he says the right things: that you and I are free citizens of the greatest and richest country in the history of mankind; that our liberties are under assault by fascists in the name of the greater good; that US blood and treasure should be expended to enable US citizens to pursue life, liberty, and property; and that the ideas underlying the expansion of liberty should rule the body politic.

Do I believe all that? Fuck yeah. Do I believe that he believes it? Fuck no. Probably he doesn’t believe in anything, other than his own vanities – he’s a child of privilege who parlayed his gifts into a career as a vapid celebrity. It’s fair to say that he is a shallow man. But also to be fair probably no more shallow than any other man who sought to be the most powerful man in the world: Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, these are not well adjusted individuals. And unlike that crew Trump is not a sociopath: he’s a game show host. Which is why I don’t share the phantasmagorical fears of the left, who after two months of ameliorating their disappointment with coloring books and stuffed animals emerged briefly from beneath their couches to throw a public temper tantrum in our nation’s capital where, dressed up in Halloween costumes and led by downtrodden dissidents like Katie Perry and Madonna Ciccone they spoke truth to power by setting fire to park benches and limousines. Well, they needn’t have bothered. Donald Trump is as likely to rob you of your civil liberties as Wink Martindale is to kidnap your children and chain them up in the basement as his personal sex slaves.

It goes without saying that as a libertarian I’m delighted to see the hind quarters of President Jugears and his cadre of Stalinist cronies: they have done incalculable damage to the republic and to our rights and liberties. I wish I could say that we’ve seen the last of him in public life, but his type never go away: they too much crave the spotlight. I cannot for the life of me fathom why someone with so much contempt for a nation and its citizens would want to govern them, much less bask in their adulation, but it seems his life blood. Which is something I’ve noticed about democratic presidents: they never go away. Jimmy Carter’s still plaguing us, and the satyr Bill Clinton – odd how the Clinton crime family foundation shut its doors just this week on the heels of Hillary’s defeat isn’t it, move along, nothing here to see – and Obama has already announced his plans to spend his retirement hectoring us for our unamerican behavior, presumably between rounds of golf and writing his third autobiography – Winston Churchill and Otto Von Bismarck got by with one – and vacuuming in huge sums of corporate cash. Whereas Reagan disappeared to his ranch with Nancy, and George Bush the younger retired graciously, and Bush senior you only heard from once a year when he jumped out of an airplane on his birthday. I think it’s because republican presidents had lives before politics that they went back to, whereas for democrats politics is the only life they know. They’re like those strip mall stores that are always having going out of business sales but never actually do. Well, for this week at least, everything that must go did.

I Know Nothing

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GAME: It’s a shame I quit smoking, because I always enjoyed a Camel after a vigorous fucking like the one Saint John’s received Sunday afternoon at the Madison Square, where they lost to Seton Hall 62-61. As usual I taped the game but figured things were not going well when Desi Rodriguez started trending on Twitter. And it turned out that Twitter – a communication platform that surreptitiously buries ideas with which it has philosophical disagreement – was for once not lying. Things started out poorly for SJU and Rodriguez was definitely trending: SJU was down 13-0, then 21-5, then by 18 and then by 14 at the half, by which point Rodriguez had already reached a career high in points. And then a remarkable thing happened: Saint John’s clawed back into it and what might have been one of the more memorable comebacks in recent memory was only thwarted when Isiah Whitehead was awarded two free throws for elbowing a Saint John’s player in the head during a scrum under the basket with 5 seconds left. It was a tough loss in a tough season, and although I am chagrined that in the aftermath a second scrum erupted at half court, I am not surprised that frustration turned to violence. Consider that of the points that Seton Hall scored in the last ten minutes of the half, 80 percent were free throws; they accomplished one field goal. Consider that Whitehead scored 10 points, despite being 1 for 12 from the floor: if everyone who went 1 for 12 from the floor was accorded the same deference Phil Greene would be the 3rd leading scorer in SJU history. Oh well. SJU will soon be well equipped enough that the referees won’t matter and I am comforted by a recent quote from Chris Mullin, who said that he is filing away every loss and that he fully expects to exact retribution. Kevin Willard had best gird his loins, if in fact rodents have loins …. To be honest this was not a game SJU should have won or even been in. They shot 40 percent from the floor and 20 percent from three and 10-24 from the free throw line and had 20 turnovers. That’s about 30 points give or take that they gave away … Tarik Turner – described for some reason by Tim Brando as “a Saint John’s great” at the game’s outset – was babbling about Seton Hall’s NCAA tournament chances. I’d give odds they’re out the first weekend and a fist fight erupts in the locker room afterwards. Takers?

PLAYERS: Yawke had 16 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks against an NCAA tournament front line. For those of you scoring at home, he should still be in high school … Mvouika had only 6 points but 8 rebounds, a bunch of those in a row at the beginning of the first half when SJ began its comeback … Durand Johnson had 9 points in 18 minutes but missed a crucial free throw at game’s end. To his credit it was he who allegedly tried to punch Whitehead’s nose during the handshake line. Hopefully he caught some skin … Federico Mussini – according to many knowledgeable fans the best shooter SJU has seen since Chris Mullin – had three points. At this rate it will only take him 800 more college games to move into first place on the all-time scoring list. Good luck Freddy … With Saint John’s up one with the ball with 30 seconds left putative point guard Malik Ellison bounced the ball off his own ankle out of bounds rather than call a time out. Not content with that he fouled Whitehead 40 feet from the basket to allow the game winning free throws. Fortunately freshman rarely get worse … Felix Balamou had a certifiable balls-in-your-face Sports Center dunk over some poor bastard who’s name I did not catch. Unfortunately when he wasn’t doing that he was air-balling free throws and crying to the referees … If the last play was drawn up to allow Sima to lose his dribble and then throw the ball in the general direction of the basket after the shot clock expired he had an excellent game. Otherwise not so much … Christian Jones played, as did Amar Alibegowick. The latter played worse. Much worse.

NOTES: I’ve been off the grid for a while and many thanks to those of you who’ve written inquiring after my well-being. The fact is that I was pretty bored with the whole enterprise. This year is essentially about waiting until next and unless you’re Sam Beckett there’s not a lot of fodder in waiting. Imagine walking into the DMV and seeing a line out the door and instead of resigning yourself to sitting around you tasked yourself with writing an endless series of essays about how slow the second hand was moving. Fuck that. I tried to answer most of your emails personally but even today they are still coming over the transom. In fact I got one today which I’d like to answer now.

Dear Fun. You are an excellent debater and nearly impossible to best in a fair competition based upon facts and logic. Do you have any advice for a world-be debater about to start his college career as a Blue Hen. Best, Jack Williams (not his real name.)

Dear Jack. Thanks for the kind words. To be a quality debater one must have a keen grasp of the subject matter, logic and rhetoric; the discipline to maintain a sense of perspective; and a sense of humor can’t hurt. A second approach is to stalk your opponent over the internet, post the personal details of his life in public, use a photograph of his mailbox as your avatar in a basketball forum, and casually mention that you know where his wife works, wink wink. Because it’s pretty hard to argue with logic like that. Best wishes, fun (not my real name).

… Another reader writes:

Fun, you often provide in the Notes section amusing anecdotes about the college that Saint John’s is playing but never about Saint John’s. What gives.

Dear reader, good point, an omission I’d to rectify now.

Vincent de Paul Lynch was born near Love Canal NY in 1927. In 1944 he lied about his age and joined the Navy to serve in World War II. After helping to defeat Hitler he was granted an honorable discharge and took advantage of the GI Bill to earn three Bachelor of Science Degrees, one each in biology, chemistry, and pharmacology. He went on to receive Masters and Doctorate degrees in Pharmacology and was named a professor at St. John’s University in 1958. In 1961 he was appointed Chair of the Department of Allied Sciences. Right around 1970 – about the time he founded the first degree program in toxicology in the US and with his much younger wife pregnant – Doctor Lynch was diagnosed with cancer. He took a semester sabbatical and after a number of surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, returned to his teaching duties, having mentioned his health issues to no one, not even Bill Rafferty on national television every chance he got. He was named Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1972 and Chair of the SJU’s Institutional Review Board in 1974. He served in those positions until his cancer returned and killed him in 1984. He was 57. Among his other accomplishments, Dr. Lynch cofounded the Society of Forensic Toxicologists; was editor of the International Congress of Pharmacology; was editor of the Journal of Analytic Toxicology; and was a member of the Editorial Board of Research Communications in Substance Abuse. He served as Toxicological Examiner for the NYC Civil Service Commission from 1965 until his death; on the NY State Drug Abuse Control Commission, the NY State Senate Committee on Crime, the NY State Assembly Committee on Health, and the NY State Joint Legislative Committee on Drug Abuse. He served on various boards of directors, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Greater New York; Queens Children’s Hospital; the NY Metropolitan Transit Authority; the Nassau County Poison Control Center; the NYC Poison Control Center; and the NYC Department of Health. In between that he delivered hundreds of public lectures on substance abuse to students, community organizations, and law enforcement and published more than 50 scholarly articles and book chapters on subjects as diverse as inhalation therapy (you’re welcome asthma sufferers) , the effects of various toxicants, poison detection, myocardial infarction, cardiopulmonary dynamics, and serum cholesterol. All of which sounds to me like a life pretty well lived and that’s not even taking into account his greatest accomplishment: me. Because he was my father. He died 33 years ago this month, bequeathing to his son a box of musty books, the Irish gene, and a Mossberg over under 12 gauge I keep loaded by the front door to discourage bears, Jehovah Witnesses, and other unwanted guests. I mention this because there have been for several months now lies posted about Doctor Lynch in a Saint John’s basketball forum by a poster who has personal issues with your humble author. This poster lacks the rhetorical skills to defend his positions, the perspective to see that his behavior is despicable, and the sense of humor that would allow him to laugh at himself when he is shown to be ridiculous. And so instead he slanders the memory of a man dead lo these many years who dedicated his life to the university this poster allegedly loves. He thought by publishing this calumny to hurt my feelings. What he failed to consider is that I barely have feelings anymore and anyway I barely knew Doctor Lynch when he was alive: I was not a man when he died and probably am not still. Lacking perspective this poster thinks that by his alleged revelations he can diminish the contribution Dr. Lynch made to Saint John’s and to the community at large. What he fails to realize is that all he reveals are the deficiencies in his own character and all he diminishes is his own spirit . So to him, a heartfelt go fuck yourself, and get well soon … Ironically I was recently digitizing a bunch of cassette tapes I had lying around the basement before they turned to dust. One of them was an appearance by Doctor Lynch on an early morning call in show hosted by Bob Crane, aka Colonel Hogan of Stalag 13. It turns out that he and Crane had the same hobby: photography. Those of you familiar with Crane’s sordid death will know that in his case his love of photography derived from a fascination with pornography, promiscuity and voyeurism. I don’t know whether Doctor Lynch’s interest stemmed from the same perversions, but in retrospect I kind of hope so. And if it’s true that the apple does not fall far from the tree it’s nearly a certainty.

… And on that note